Remember that trailer from last year’s E3? You know the one. It had parkour in it, it had zombies, and it had things turning freaky when it went to night time?
Well the team at Techland had a lot more of Dying Light to show off this year.
Thanks to Techland’s Radoslaw Grabowski I got to go hands-on with a build he claimed was further along than beta, and you could definitely tell.
I was guided to a PC, a 360 controller, and some headphones that he was able to talk to me through whilst also being able to take in the sounds of the game.
Radoslaw introduces me to the main character and explains that the character is a bit of a newbie and therefore has very little skill or ability.
Mixed with my introduction to the controls the main character does in fact seem a little clumsy.
Within minutes I’ve got it sussed.
Clicking the left stick puts your character into a run and a tap of the RB button sees him jump. Holding the RB button down allows your character to scale objects, from cars and boxes to fences and walls.
Fairly basic stuff and it ends up feeling quite reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge.
Being new to surviving in a zombie filled world, my character is holding two relatively weak weapons: a baseball bat, and some kind of metal pole with a sharp spike on one end.
Squeezing the right trigger has your character swing his weapon, but squeeze it too often and he’ll tire, although I wasn’t able to tire him out by running.
Radoslaw assured me that the character in Dying Light has plenty of opportunities for growth and directs me to the skill tree.
Your character earns XP for both agility and strength as you complete small tasks on your way through the game, and, as we all know, XP usually means skill points.
Before too long I’ve acquired the ability to stomp a zombies head in as well as the ability to take less damage when falling.
My main mission, in this opening section of the demo, was to get to a radio antennae in the distance and secure the area to give me a new safe house.
In Dying Light sticking to the roofs is the best way to stay alive, since zombies can’t climb but getting there can be difficult, and being there doesn’t guarantee your safety.
My biggest issue with sticking to the rooftops is that there were plenty of moments where the climbing just wasn’t doing what I wanted. It felt like I may have been positioned incorrectly at times, but with no way to tell. The last thing you want when running from the undead is to find yourself hanging from a wall being unable to climb.
After completing the first part of the demo, Radoslaw explained a little about the second part, and he did so with a big smile on his face. You see, he was about to show me how the game can play when your character is a much higher level, with better weaponry, and a lot more skills.
I flicked through the abilities I now had at my disposal, but was more eager to see why the weapons brought Radoslaw so much joy.
He was quick to suggest checking out two very specific weapons: an electrified axe and a blade with what looked like a gas powered flame coming from the end.
Both were an absolute joy to utilise but I kept going back to the axe. There was something so satisfying, and I even managed to cut the top of a skull clean off a zombie.
Radoslaw smiled once more and suggested holding the trigger down for a more powerful attack.
Who am I to argue? Triggered is pulled and held, a moment passes and it is released.
A 360 degree spin with the axe held at arm’s length sees zombies split in half with their entrails hanging from one of their halves.
It was gorey and possibly a little gratuitous, but the combat felt great, if not a little shallow.
I didn’t get a chance to check out any other weapons or see the extent of how the different skills could affect the gameplay, but as it stands now it’s definitely a game I’ll be keeping my eye on.
Dying Light is looking to launch along five platforms (Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, and PS4) in February 2015.